Koko threatens to sue Tiso Blackstar as disciplinary hearing begins

23 November 2017 - 16:21 By Neo Goba
Eskom CEO Matshela Koko.
Eskom CEO Matshela Koko.
Image: Freddy Mavunda/Financial Mail

Suspended Eskom acting CEO Matshela Koko has threatened to take action against the Tiso Blackstar Group for its continued reporting on his troubles at the power utility.

Koko is currently facing disciplinary procedures and made the threat on the sidelines of his disciplinary hearing.

"Eskom is responding to the Tiso [Blackstar] Group reporting and I think it's fair for Eskom to say 'we read what we read on the newspapers and we can’t let it pass‚ we have to follow it up'.

“The bone I have is with yourselves (Tiso Blackstar Group) and the question you should be asking is what do I do with yourselves‚” Koko told a TimesLIVE reporter.

He was speaking on the sidelines before the commencement of his hearing after a new evidence leader‚ advocate Cassim Moosa‚ wanted to familiarise himself with the details of the case.

The postponement follows Koko’s lawyer Sebetja Matsaung’s termination after he made threats against the Financial Mail’s deputy editor‚ Sikonathi Mantshantsha‚ who was covering the hearing‚ six weeks ago.

"I want to be able to say at the end 'This is what you reported‚ there was an investigation‚ there was a hearing and this is the outcome of the hearing' and based on the outcome of the hearing with evidence having being led‚ I then can approach whoever I want to approach based on that [but] I don’t think Tiso [Blackstar] Group should get away with it‚ I honestly don’t believe so. I will take advice but I don’t think this kind of reporting should be allowed to continue unabated‚" added Koko.

Koko was suspended earlier this year and is facing six charges of misconduct relating mainly to his failure to declare a conflict of interest concerning contracts worth approximately R1-billion which were awarded to Impulse International‚ a company of which his step-daughter‚ Koketso Choma‚ was a director and shareholder.

The conflict of interest was reported on by the Sunday Times‚ a Tiso Blackstar publication.

Koko will also face charges relating to undermining his colleagues and irregularly removing some from their positions. The charges emanate from a forensic probe that was instituted after a whistle-blower report.

Eskom has alleged that Koko in February this year instructed Frans Sithole‚ a project director at Kusile‚ to remove senior manager for contract management France Hlaukudi‚ a project manager for a consultant company at Kusile‚ Gopal Kambi‚ and a company called GTC from the Kusile project.

In March this year‚ Koko also moved group executive for group capital Abram Masango to the office of the group CEO. Masango was Sithole’s manager. Eskom said Masango would assist the now-suspended group financial officer‚ Anoj Singh‚ and Koko with the execution of Eskom’s 2017-18 corporate plan.

The hearing was due to begin at 2pm on Thursday.